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founder members in custody for refusing to pay bail
Tichaona Sibanda, SW Radio Africa
December 07, 2007
from Women and
Men of Zimbabwe Arise were arrested in Sakubva, Mutare on Thursday
for attending a meeting that was scheduled to discuss domestic violence.
were charged under the Criminal
Law Act and told to pay a fine of Z$40 000 each. 18 activists
paid the fines and were released, but two leading members of Woza,
Magodonga Mahlangu and Clara Manjengwa, refused to pay and are still
Shepherd Ndlovu, a member
of Men of Zimbabwe Arise, said police charged the activists with
attending an illegal meeting in an open space in Sakubva.
Ndlovu said a group of
approximately 90 people had gathered for the meeting before police
officers stopped them from proceeding. The police force-marched
eight men and twelve women, three of them with babies, over a kilometre
to Sakubva Police Station.
According to a statement
from Woza, during the march to the police station, several of the
members were handcuffed.
'At the police station,
the group was denied access to their lawyer and also denied food.
Some members were beaten. Police informed the group that as most
were not carrying their national identification cards, they had
broken the law and should pay fines. Without access to legal counsel
to advise that this was inaccurate, most members believed they had
no other option than to pay the fines and were released at 7pm,'
the statement added.
It is believed Mahlangu
and Manjengwa refused to buy their way out of police cells, insisting
that they did not commit any crime. Ndlovu said they believe the
police want to punish the duo for their stance by saying they will
take them to court on Monday, forcing them to spend the weekend
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